U.S. Urges Americans to Leave Syria “Immediately”

24 Nov


Associated Press

The U.S. Embassy in Damascus urged its citizens in Syria to depart “immediately,” and Turkey’s foreign ministry urged Turkish pilgrims to opt for flights to return home from Saudi Arabia to avoid traveling through Syria.

“The U.S. Embassy continues to urge U.S. citizens in Syria to depart immediately while commercial transportation is available,” said a statement issued to the American community in Syria Wednesday and posted on the Embassy’s website. “The number of airlines serving Syria has decreased significantly since the summer, while many of those airlines remaining have reduced their number of flights.”

The warning followed an announcement in Washington this week that Ambassador Robert Ford would not return to Syria this month as planned, indicating concerns over his safety.

The Obama administration quietly pulled Ford out of Syria last month, citing credible personal threats against him.

The Turkish foreign ministry on Wednesday urged Turkish pilgrims to opt for flights to return home from Saudi Arabia and avoid traveling through Syria for security reasons.

The warning came two days after Syrian soldiers opened fire on at least two buses carrying Turkish citizens, witnesses and officials said, apparent retaliation for Turkey’s criticism of Assad. The Turks were returning from Saudi Arabia after performing the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile, Syrian security carried out raids in rebellious areas in the center and the south of the country Wednesday, and at least six people died, raising the death toll in the past two days to 34, activists said, as the U.S. and Turkey took unusual steps to protect their citizens.

Syrian President Bashar Assad was under increasing international pressure to stop the brutal crackdown, but no effects were apparent on the ground.

Activists and human rights groups said at least six people died in central and southern Syria on Wednesday, some during raids by Syrian security forces, and others who died of injuries sustained earlier.

Wednesday’s casualties raised to 34 the number of Syrians killed in the past 24 hours.

Two main activist groups, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Local Coordinating Committees, documented the deaths, which were reported Tuesday in the central cities of Hama and Homs, the eastern city of Deir el-Zour and elsewhere.

The violence came a day ahead of Arab League talks in Cairo to assess the Syria crisis after the 22-member organization rejected proposed Syrian amendments to its plan to send Arab observers to Syria to protect civilians.

The Arab League suspended Syria’s membership over the bloodshed and Syria’s failure to abide by an Arab peace plan it signed.

A key U.N. committee voted Tuesday to condemn human rights violations by Assad’s government and called for an immediate end to all violence. Nearly 4,000 people have been reported killed in the military crackdown on the popular uprising since March.

The nonbinding resolution adopted by the General Assembly’s human rights committee calls on Syrian authorities to implement the Arab League peace plan, agreed to earlier this month, “without further delay.”

The resolution, sponsored by Britain, France and Germany, was passed by a vote of 122-13 with 41 abstentions. It must now be approved at a plenary session of the 193-member world body, where its adoption is virtually certain.

U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice said in a statement that the committee’s first-ever resolution on Syria’s human rights violations “has sent a clear message that it does not accept abuse and death as a legitimate path to retaining power.”

Syria’s U.N. Ambassador Bashar Jaafari again accused Britain, France and Germany of “waging a media, political and diplomatic war against Syria” and encouraging armed groups to engage in violence rather than national dialogue with the government.




David Cameron: War looms in Syria

By James Tapsfield

Belfast Telegraph

David Cameron urged world leaders to “engage” with Syrian opposition groups yesterday as he warned the country was on the brink of a full-scale civil war.

The Prime Minister praised interventions by Turkey and the Arab League against Bashar al-Assad’s brutal suppression of protests. Speaking alongside Turkish President Abdullah Gul in Downing Street, he said: “Today we had important discussions on Syria, where now a full-scale civil war is a real possibility.

“The world now needs to get behind with concerted pressure on the regime and positive engagement with the opposition, who can represent Syria in an inclusive transition,” he added.

“Syria is now at a dead end so change is inevitable,” Mr Gul had earlier said.


Posted by on November 24, 2011 in Uncategorized


3 responses to “U.S. Urges Americans to Leave Syria “Immediately”

  1. Yoko

    November 24, 2011 at 5:37 pm

    U.S. carrier sent to Syrian coast as tensions flare

    The USS George H.W. Bush, the Navy’s newest aircraft carrier, has reportedly parked off the Syrian coast. The move comes as the U.S. embassy in Damascus urged Americans to “immediately” leave the country.

    “The U.S. embassy continues to urge U.S. citizens in Syria to depart immediately while commercial transportation is available,” began a statement released Wednesday on the embassy website. “The number of airlines serving Syria has decreased significantly since the summer, while many of those airlines remaining have reduced their number of flights.”

    In addition to urging citizens to leave the country, CBS News reports that Ambassador Robert Ford, who was recalled from Syria last month due to what the Obama administration called credible threats to his safety, will not return to the country later this month as planned.

    Syria’s government has been strongly condemned by the international community following months of state-sponsored violence against political activists protesting the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. The violence is said to have left thousands dead in the country, which is a close ally of Iran and a sponsor of the Islamic terrorist group Hezbollah.

    Adding to the sense of danger, Turkey, a NATO member and fierce critic of Assad’s government, recently warned its citizens to avoid traveling through the country after Syrian troops fired on at least two buses carrying Turkish Muslims returning from the annual pilgrimage to Mecca.

    Some Arab publications have reported this week that a no-fly zone will soon be put in place over Syria — similar to the one implemented over Libya last spring. And while such reports in the Arab press are often met with skepticism by western observers, the financial news service ZeroHedge flagged down a report from the respected private intelligence company Stratfor stating that CVN 77, better known as the George H.W. Bush, had left the strategically vital Straits of Hormuz for the Syrian coast.

    The idea of imposing a no-fly zone over Syria — an increasingly hot topic in Washington, D.C. — was discussed at Tuesday’s CNN Republican debate. Texas Gov. Rick Perry has said he would “absolutely” propose a no-fly zone for the country, but when asked if they would do the same, other Republican presidential candidates remained hesitant.

    “This is not the time for a no-fly zone over Syria,” said Romney.

  2. Narcisa

    November 25, 2011 at 4:45 am

    Heading for War on Syria?
    Libya’s model is being replicated in Syria. So far, it’s short of war. For how long is uncertain. Expect it if current tactics fail. More on that below.
    At issue is regime change, establishing another client state, and isolating Iran ahead of similar tactics there. It’s part of America’s Middle East project to redraw the region according to US/Israeli geopolitical aims.
    Washington’s dirty hands lie behind what’s happening. Partners include Israel, Britain, France, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Lebanon’s March 8 Alliance, Jordan, and other despotic Arab League states.
    Obama, the peace candidate, wages wars like a crazed psychopath. Already fighting multiple failed ones, he can’t wait to start another. Someone please post a sign outside the White House saying stop me before I bomb again.
    In mid-November, Russia’s Vladimir Putin called NATO’s Libyan intervention “a complete affront to the international community.”
    Meeting with Valdai groups members in Moscow, he warned against similar tactics in Syria. He also accused Washington and other Western states of hypocritically attacking regimes they previously supported.
    Saying he’ll be as internationally combative if again elected president next March, he stressed that Russia won’t support interventionist anti-Syrian Security Council resolutions similar to ones targeting Libya.
    Last winter, externally generated Syrian uprisings began. National Security Council strategic communications director Ben Rhodes called the Libyan model a template for future US/NATO interventions, but “(h)ow much we translate to Syria remains to be seen.”
    “The Syrian opposition doesn’t want foreign military forces, but do want more countries to cut trade with the regime and break with it politically.” After that, anything is possible, including war.
    Throughout the conflict, heavily armed insurgents are de facto death squads. They’ve targeted civilians, state security forces, and government buildings. Hypocritically, Assad’s blamed for confronting them.
    Syria remains the region’s only independent secular state. Despite legitimate political, economic and social grievances, mass rallies confirm considerable Assad support. Typically this happens during conflicts when people back government efforts against them.
    Imported Al Qaeda elements are involved, similar to Libya’s insurgency. Their agenda isn’t freedom fighting. It’s transforming Syria into a Saudi-like sheikdom under Sharia law, much different from what most Syrians know and want.
    So far, Assad’s military remains largely intact. Ruling Alawites control key units. If loyalty to the regime holds, insurgents without NATO’s help won’t defeat it.
    Stiff sanctions were also imposed. For the most part, civilians are harmed. Deposing governments this way doesn’t work. They didn’t topple Saddam Hussain or Gaddafi. They haven’t unseated governments in Iran or Sudan. Nor in besieged Gaza, despite severe poverty, unemployment, malnutrition, and overall deprivation, compounded by regular Israeli attacks.
    International law issues are also raised. Sanctions must conform to international human rights and humanitarian principles so civilian populations aren’t harmed.
    Specifically, food, medical and other essential supplies and services can’t be embargoed. Humanitarian assistance must be offered. Geneva and Additional Protocols call for assurances during armed conflict.
    The right to life, medical care, health, food, clothing, housing, and other essentials fall under their principles. As a result, sanctions must include humanitarian considerations. Harm to civilian populations must be minimized. Permitting undo suffering is unacceptable.
    Fourth Geneva’s Article 33 prohibits collective punishment, saying:
    “No protected person may be punished for an offense he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited….Reprisals against protected persons and their property are prohibited.”
    Western imposed economic sanctions violate fundamental international law provisions.
    Pro-Western Arab League Duplicity
    On November 16, Arab League officials proposed deploying 500 civilian and military monitors to assess whether Syria’s abiding by their brokered peace plan to end conflict they support.
    Syria requested modifications. Arab League officials rejected them. Assad said “(t)h conflict will continue, and the pressure to subjugate Syria will continue. However, I assure you that Syria will not bow down and that it will continue to resist the pressure being imposed on it.”
    Deployed monitors are a step short of occupation. It’s reminiscent of events preceding NATO’s 1999 Serbia/Kosovo war. In March 1999, Slobodon Milosovic got an acceptable ultimatum, the so-called Rambouillet Agreement. It was a take-it-or-leave it deal no responsible leader would accept.
    It involved surrendering Serbia’s sovereignty to NATO occupation with unimpeded access throughout the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY), including its airspace and territorial waters. Moreover, NATO demanded use of any area or facilities therein for its mission, irrespective of FRY laws.
    It also required Milosevic’s full cooperation. It was an offer designed for rejection. War, mass destruction and slaughter followed. Serbia’s sovereign Kosovo territory was lost.
    It’s now a Washington/NATO occupied colony, home to Camp Bondsteel, one of America’s largest military bases. It’s run by Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, an unindicted drug trafficker with known organized crime ties.
    Washington has similar designs on Syria. War’s perhaps planned. Pro-Western Arab League despots supported NATO’s Libya war, mass slaughter and destruction. At the same time, they ignore ongoing atrocities in Bahrain, Yemen, Somalia, Palestine, elsewhere in the region, and internally.
    Since March, they supported Western-backed anti-Syrian insurgents. War, occupation, and regional instability may follow.
    On and off for months, half or more of League members attacked, killed, arrested, imprisoned, and/or brutalized their own people for protesting against political, economic and social injustice.
    Expect them shortly to recognize the illegitimate Syrian National Council. It’s similar to Libya’s puppet Transitional National Council (TNC). They both abhor democracy. SNC hard-liners support Western military intervention.
    Originally formed in 2005, it was revived on August 23, 2011 in Istanbul, Turkey. It represents Western-backed internal opposition elements against the rights and interests of most Syrians.
    Iran’s also being pressured. The road to Tehran runs through Damascus. With Arab League backing, general war’s possible, no matter how potentially disastrous.
    Everything’s being orchestrated in Washington. Its agenda includes ravaging the world one country at a time. Syria and Iran are targeted.
    As a result, no one anywhere is safe, including Americans ruled by rogue leaders.
    ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at Also visit his blog and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening. He is also the author of “How Wall Street Fleeces America“


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: